Penelope Hobhouse uses some of the finest gardens in the world to show how to lay out and plant formal, patterned, natural and flower gardens. Her examples range from Italianate Blake House garden at Berkeley, California, with its spectacular curving staircase and rectangular pool, to the Jekyll-inspired planting of white foxgloves in the wild garden at Knightshayes, Devon; from the excitement of the summer flower border at Pontrancart, Dieppe, to the simple greeness of a garden room at La Pietra in Tuscany.
But this book is more than a tour of beautiful gardens. Penelope Hobhouse informs, advises and inspires on every aspect of garden design. She explains how to relate a garden to its setting; the importance of establishing a proper structure, whether as an end in itself or as a backdrop for decorative planning; and how to create a successful small garden. These themes are balanced by in-depth portraits of more than 20 gardens, some famous like Great Dixter, Villandry and Giustry, other less known and previously unpublished.